Today’s Scrip-Bit 31 March 2018 1 Chronicles 28:9.

1 Chronicles 28:9.   And thou, Solomon  my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever.

Well friends, we’ve gotten through the horror of Good Friday, where we saw Jesus crucified to pay for our abominable sins. It wasn’t easy, but we understood the reason why it had to happen: No sacrificial death, no salvation. For the price of sin had to be paid in sinless blood, and Jesus’ blood was the ONLY one that met the full criteria. 

Now it’s time to wait for His awesome resurrection; His victory over hell, death and the grave, where He dangles the keys to the gates of hell before an awestruck, defeated Lucifer. (smile) 

Yes my fellow believers, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ gave us the victory over the enemy by His sacrificial death on the cross. The least we can do now is show a fair amount of appreciation by living and working diligently and excellently in His name, to spread the good news of His gospel around the entire world. 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Here’s the first one: ‘Being happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.’ Now that’s something a lot of us perfectionists need to understand. Perfection is not possible, and if we don’t rise above our imperfections, we’ll never be happy. 

Then there’s: ‘Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.’ That’s something else many of us need to learn and do, because we keep beating ourselves up unnecessarily. Remember we can’t be perfect, so once we’re really trying, there’s no need to abuse ourselves. And what’s so foolish and unfair about that is we give a lot of leeway to others, but not enough to ourselves. 

So what then? ‘Focus on the good.’ ‘That’s elementary, my dear Watson,’ you reply. Not really nuh, because if most of us were constantly focused on the good, our world would not be in such a sorry state. It’s because we’re NOT focused on the good that life in this realm of plenty is so rough for so many. 

And we’ll end with this quote: ‘Rule your mind, or it will rule you.’ And is that ever so true my brethren, for it all takes place in the mind, or as Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) refers to it, ‘The battlefield of the mind.’ That’s where all our wars and battles take place. And that’s why when we allow the enemy to control our thoughts, he can therefore control our lives. Because as a man thinks, so is he. We become what we think about most. 

So if we think about the things of the world more than those of Jesus, then we’ll become more like the world, and vice versa. That’s why it’s necessary to have good and positive thoughts above all else. They will lift you up, while negative emotions will only drag you further down to Hades. (smile) And we don’t want that now, do we? Of course not! 

That’s why some of the best advice ever given to a son was that of Bruh David to Cousin Sol in our Bit. ‘And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever.’ 

Yeh friends, if we want to live godly and righteous lives, we have to keep our minds focused on stuff that’s godly and righteous. And remember that God looks deep into our hearts and minds to find our true purpose and motives before considering our outward show. So if what’s in our minds and what’s in our actions are different, then the Lord will discover them and act accordingly. 

For as Jesus said: ‘Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth that defileth a man.’ (Matt.15:11) And what comes out of us is what we have focused in our minds. So if our thoughts are evil, then our deeds will most likely be evil too. No wonder Jesus also warned us thus: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things will be added unto you.’ (Matt.11:33) 

Fellow believers, our omniscient and all powerful God knows what we need to function on this earth, and He has promised to give it to us if we keep Him first place in our minds, bodies and actions. If you think primarily on the things of the world, they will be of no avail in the long run. 

For as Jesus says: ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt (ruin), and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ (Matt.6:19-21) 

Words of everlasting wisdom my people, from the creator of all wisdom! Now are we going to be wise and follow them, or foolish and think on the wrong things? That’s up to each individual, but please remember that there are consequences for each line of thought, and before you decide, it would be wise to consider the consequences of each. Much LOVE!

…obey God…and leave all the consequences to Him… (Charles Stanley)

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 September 2017 Luke 18:1.

Luke 18:1.   And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint. 

So friends, like fall has finally fallen! (smile) Yes, it’s still dark out at 7 a.m, it’s somewhat chilly, only 13 degrees, and yesterday I finally saw a set of fallen dry leaves merrily dancing in my driveway! That alone indicates to me that the weather has changed, or is changing. 

Anyway, North Carolina is still feeling the wind and water effects of hurricane Maria with plenty shoreline flooding, as she makes her way northward and out to sea. Ah Lord eh friends, it certainly has been a devastating couple of months in so many places from so many forces! 

And so much disaster has befallen us in the south and east, that we have forgotten that out in the west, where the devastation first began, they are still daily battling wild fires. Please, let’s continue to pray for them and help in any way we can, as we try to recover and rebuild on this side of the continent. 

And my biggest prayer is that this set of calamitous circumstances will truly bring us close together, as we help each other. Also, that it will eventually lead to us realizing that God is our ONLY true help in this uncertain world, which will further lead us to wisely embracing His LOVING-kindness once more, as the Sovereign Ruler over our society. 

In other words, we will purge the evil from our midst and go back to trying to live righteous lives, under His merciful and forgiving umbrella. That’s the ONLY thing that makes sense in this topsy-turvy world my brethren!  

Right now we need the biggest LOVE Revolution our planet has ever seen if we’re to make any serious and sensible headway in our society. Just look at the number of wars, rumours of wars and bitter strife that’s taking place in our world, despite the overwhelming disasters in almost every part of the planet. 

One would think getting together to alleviate those disasters would be the prime target of all nations. Hn! But no, feuding, warmongering, greed, religious intolerance and lust for power still seem to be our major preoccupations! 

What a foolish people we are! And yet we boast about mankind being God’s greatest and wisest creation! Steups! What a joke! 

Anyway, let’s turn to our Bit, which tells us the basic thing we need to do in this life, if we’re to succeed and prosper. ‘And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.’ 

Yeh my fellow believers, that’s the wise advice of our Lord and Saviour, our Redeemer and heavenly Advocate, the ONE who sacrificed His sinless life for us. So if we say that we believe in Him, then we ought to do what He says. 

And John tells us right up front: ‘He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:4) 

Unfortunately my people, that means we have a whole lot of liars in our society since so many of us don’t keep Christ’s commandments, although we claim to be believers! But that’s another story for another day! (smile) 

Today we’re concerned with prayer and praying. And in Jesus’ most strenuous and difficult moments, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before His crucifixion, what was he doing? Praying to His heavenly Father. So Jesus knew the power of prayer and consistently practiced it. 

On that momentous night, He also uttered another serious warning on the subject. His inner circle of disciples were supposed to be watching and praying with Him: ‘And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ (Matt.26:40-41) 

That’s oh so true friends, but not too many, or not enough of us consider those words today, and that’s a major reason why our society is so awash in evil and ungodliness. So please, let’s consider them more than we do right now nuh. It’s all for our benefit, not God’s!

And if we sincerely believe and trust in Jesus, then let’s go home declaring our Thursday Blessings. Remember there is power in the word, and speaking it only enhances that power. 

So in unison, emphatically and enthusiastically: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! 

I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! 

I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’

Glory be mih people! Now let’s go out and share those blessings as Jesus desires of us. Much LOVE!

…to be safe and not sorry…watch and pray…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 March 2017 Psalm 119:105.

Psalm 119:105.   Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Oh my precious people, it’s Thursday, rise and shine and greet the brand new day filled with new mercies and blessings, courtesy of our magnificent and magnanimous God! 

Oh, I know some of you have been up a long while ago, but have you invoked the new blessings and mercies provided especially for today? I do hope you have, otherwise you’re missing out on a whole lot of good stuff, and wasting God’s goodness. 

Anyway, it’s the second day of Lent, that time when Christians become especially introspective, giving up worldly stuff, concentrating on confession and repentance, seeking to cleanse their souls, bodies and minds. It’s a time about spiritual improvement and upliftment that coincides with Jesus’ forty days of temptation in the wilderness. 

Now here is ‘A Prayer for Change,’ from Gramps Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional, which I believe can be of much benefit to us today. 

Please pray with me. ‘O God, when a life has been so richly blessed as mine has been, it’s not right for me not to be laughing! I confess that I am responsible for my moods. I have no right to selfishly indulge in negative feelings of self-pity. It’s time for me to change my mental dial, Lord. 

You are helping me. This will be the moment when the sun breaks through the parted clouds, and springtime returns after winter. Thank you, Lord! 

The dreary, depressing, disconsolate mood disappears like the morning mist in the glowing sunshine of your LOVE. And joy moves in! And hope begins to build up within me! And a beautiful feeling of LOVE starts to surround me! 

Thank you, God, for the great things you are doing within me now in this moment of prayer. Amen.’ 

Yes friends, with God’s amazing help, we can all change for the better! But as Gramps Schuller states early on in the prayer, we need to change our mental dial to bring about that improvement. Remember it all begins in the mind, with our thoughts. And if our mind and our thoughts aren’t right, then our lives will never be right. 

And this is what the Lenten season is all about, changing our mental dial; looking deep inside, with God’s help obviously, to weed out the unprofitable and unproductive thoughts and replace them with God-centred ones that enrich our lives. 

And to help us do that, we desperately need to delve into the truth of God’s Word, so that it becomes as the psalmist says in our Bit: ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ 

Ah mih people, until and unless, we allow God’s Word to lead and guide us in this earthly life, we’ll most likely go astray and end up on the broad highway that leads to destruction. And believe me, that’s not a very nice place to be. 

Yes it looks good, and there’s lots of freedom, but the end of it all is just a ruined life. So let’s look now at some scripture that corroborates our Bit and encourages us to get into the Word like never before. 

This first piece, like our Bit, comes from Psalm 119. ‘Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.’ (Ps.119:129-131) 

Oh friends, is that the way we feel about God’s Word? Do we long for it? Do we pant for it? And do we keep it? Now if we are serious believers, then we should be doing all those things. 

As the Sons of Korah put it in Psalm 42 – An intense longing for God: ‘As the hart panteth after (the deer longs for) the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.’ (Ps.42:1) 

Yes my brethren, that’s how we ought to feel about our God: long for Him in our souls like the thirsty deer longs for a drink of cold, sweet water! And believe me friends, when we find Him, a joy comes into our souls just like when the deer drinks that thirst quenching water. 

And this last bit of scripture reinforces all that we’ve said so far. ‘The works of his hands are verity (truth) and judgement; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.’ (Ps.111:7-9) 

And those are all facts, not alternative ones (smile) but facts of gospel truth! So please let’s take them to heart nuh, so that we can live godly and righteous lives. 

And finally, it’s time to declare our Thursday Blessings. Remember a blessing is not a blessing until it’s been spoken over someone. 

So with sincere enthusiasm and belief let’s declare them: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! 

I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! 

I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Now let’s go out and bless others! Much LOVE!

…a day that’s not filled with God…is indeed a wasted day…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 December 2015 Proverbs 4:12

Proverbs 4:12.   When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened (hindered); and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. 

And then it was Saturday; a day for sleeping in for some, but for others, a day for household chores and shopping, and the myriad of things that could not be done during the workweek. Ah chuh! 

Yes friends, I know it’s a never ending cycle, but it’s important that we find time for ourselves, to rest and renew our spirits and physical energy during the weekend, otherwise we’ll drop down from the wear and tear, and all the stuff that seemed so important will still be there for someone else to do. So please play it smart, do your best, but please don’t kill yourself in the process.  

Now here are some wise words from our Friend Anselm, who never misses an opportunity to inspire us towards a better tomorrow. It’s a two for one play. And the first play says: ‘The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.’ 

And all of that is quite true my brethren, but by the same token, like we said above, we can’t let those desires take over our lives to the detriment of other things. Regardless of what we do, we need to live balanced lives. So, seeking personal excellence doesn’t mean neglecting everything else but that driving force within you. And yes, it’s true that Christ desires excellence amongst His followers, but not at the expense of their health. 

And note too, we have to keep that desire to win, and to succeed according to the world’s demands on a tight leash, otherwise we’ll just drive ourselves and those around us crazy, because the world today is success driven, at any and all costs. Achieving material wealth, economic prominence and political power are what the world determines success by. But thank God, as followers of Jesus Christ, we don’t have to kill ourselves proving to the world that we can be successful by its unwise and unhealthy standards. 

That brings part two of Anselm’s wisdom into play. ‘A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.’  And therein lies the crux of the matter; not the desire to achieve, but the desire to beat others. Yes my brethren, when we introduce that aspect of competition and comparison, as the world likes to do, then we get ourselves in serious trouble. 

For as Bruh Paul says to the Corinthians, re comparisons. ‘For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.’ (2 Cor.10:12) 

The sad fact is that such comparisons lead to things like jealousy, resentment, anger and broken relationships, which effectively defeats the cause of excellence that you’re trying to achieve. So friends, please don’t compare yourselves to others, because it will just contaminate your souls. 

The Lord didn’t make us to be comparisons, but to be unique individuals, standing in our own perfect space. Please remember that the next time you feel like comparing yourself to someone else. 

And finally it’s time for our Bit. But to get some idea of the context, let’s go back a couple verses. In this section Cousin Sol is talking about avoiding wickedness. ‘Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. 

When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened (hindered); and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast (firm) hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.’ (Prov.4:10-13) 

Now that is undeniable truth my brethren! For when we harness wisdom – the wisdom of God that is – to our lives, then we can never go astray or fall by the wayside, for wisdom is the very essence of our godly and righteous lives. She is indeed our very life! That’s why we can’t afford to let her go or diverge from her paths.  

And we see the folly of forsaking wisdom as Cousin Sol wisely continues. ‘Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it (do not tread on it), turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except (unless) they have done mischief (evil); and their sleep is taken away (they are robbed of sleep), unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.’ (Prov.4:14-17)  

Words of divine wisdom Friends! But unfortunately, in our current world we’re eating way too much ‘bread of wickedness’ and drinking excessive amounts of ‘wine of violence.’ 

Now that could never be a good thing for the followers of Jesus. For ‘The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.’ (Prov.10:19) 

Ah my people, how are the wicked foolish and gone astray eh? ‘But the path of the just is as the shining (bright) light, that shineth more and more (ever brighter) unto the perfect day.’ (Prov.4:18) Now friends, that’s where followers of Jesus ought to be! 

And we’ll close with these words of gospel truth from Cousin Sol. ‘Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to (place on) thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver thee.’ (Prov.4:7-9) 

Now there’s nothing better than that for us to achieve in this world my brethren. So let’s go and get it nuh. Much LOVE!

…get Jesus…and you’ll find wisdom and understanding…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 June 2015 Ephesians 2:8‏‏‏‏

Ephesians 2:8.    For by grace are ye (you have been) saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Oh Friends, welcome to a beautiful morning in this part of God’s great universe! And it’s Wednesday morning too, which means that it’s Wailing Time! Yes my people, it’s time to wail our Wednesday Wail. So let’s wail on them nuh, let’s wail down the place. (smile)

As one set of harmonic wailers, let’s wail: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of live is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home.

My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’

Ah mih breddren, it’s such a wonderful feeling to be alive, though our world is more than a bit topsy turvy! But when we have the Creator of the universe as our God and heavenly Father, our guide and protector, there’s absolutely nothing to fear! Glory be!

Remember these wonderful inspiring and uplifting words of Bruh David from Psalm 27. ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?’ (Ps.27:1) And the answer to those questions is simply, NOBODY!

But then, just in case the situation does arise, Bruh David faithfully declares: ‘What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.’ (Ps.56:3-4) Strong words of faith my people.

Then dwell on these reassuring words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. ‘And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ (Matt.10:28) The death of the body is not the end of life, and the only person with power to destroy both body and soul my Friends is Almighty God!

So He is the ONLY Being we ought to fear. And if we have a personal relationship with Him, then our fear should not be as someone scared, for we can come to Him at any time with confidence and courage, but a respect and reverence for His awesome power and incredible magnanimity.

And that’s shown to full effect by the words of our Bit. ‘For by grace are ye (you have been) saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:’

Oh my people, my people, I certainly don’t understand how anyone can turn away from such a wonderful Deity, for even a little common sense should tell us that’s where our bread is truly buttered, not with the untrustworthy things and evildoers of the world. Now let’s continue looking at scriptures that deal with the truly wonderful blessing of grace.

And we’ll begin with Bruh Paul’s words to the Galatians, when he explained how he came to be an apostle. ‘But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen (Gentiles); immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.’ (Gal.1:15-17)

And the scholars offer these explanations. ‘1:15-16. Since Paul’s conversion to Christianity was due to God and not man, and since he did not consult with men subsequent to his conversion, then the apostle could not have received the gospel from any but the Lord. To reveal his Son in (to) me: The divine disclosure to man of the person and work of Christ is the essence of the gospel.’

‘1:17. Following his Damascus road conversion Paul made no trip to Jerusalem, where the apostles were, but spent approximately three years in Arabia. It is implied that he conferred with God there. During these three years he was not taught by men.’

But by the grace of God, Friends! How else could he divine all the heavenly stuff that he divined eh? Our God works in so many different ways that it’s nothing but amazing!

And to Timothy, when exhorting him to endurance, Bruh Paul declares: ‘Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions (share with me in the sufferings) of the gospel according to the power of God;

Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (before time). But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.’ (2 Tim.1:8-10)

And the scholars’ tell us: ‘1:8-10. The testimony of our Lord refers to the gospel Paul preached. Me his prisoner indicates that although Paul is actually a prisoner in a dungeon cell in the city of Rome, he regards himself there in the directive will of God. Hence he is really God’s prisoner, and Rome is merely God’s agent to put him where God wants him.

Who hath saved us refers to the ultimate effect: our salvation. And called us with a holy calling looks at the means by which our salvation was effected. His own purpose and grace…was given us indicates that our salvation was totally unmerited.

Abolished death (“having rendered death ineffective”): By His vicarious death, Christ reversed the curse of sin and brought life (eternal union of the soul with God) and immortality (“incorruption”) which is guaranteed by His resurrection.’

Ah Friends, I know it does seem like a lot of heavy stuff, but we need to understand the Good Book as best we can, so that we can make worthwhile decisions and thus live righteous lives.

Now we’ll end today’s message with these well know words from Hebrews. ‘Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb.4:16)

Now those are definitely words of awesome heavenly wisdom, so please my people, let’s put them into action in our lives today, and every day that we draw the Lord’s breath of life. Much LOVE!

…this earthly Christian life is nothing but grace…God’s free gift of grace…grace upon grace…so that we can have a beautiful eternal relationship with Him…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 February 2015 Romans 12:2

Romans 12:2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Well Friends and fellow believers in Jesus Christ, once again the cycle of 7 days morphing into a week has begun. This is the day of the Lord, the first day of the week, and to show proper respect and our grateful appreciation for His goodness and LOVING-kindness last week, and this coming week, we ought to go to His sanctuary and offer up praise, worship and thanksgiving with other believers and receive the strength, encouragement and confidence to face another week in this mish-mash, predominantly ungodly world.

I already had my churching for today. And Friends, the ole fella read the scripture in church and shook my tambourine with much pleasure. Mama Mia! I like this church. It doesn’t seem to have a choir or organ, but they have an African drum and tambourines and the voices really are loud and proud, filling up the whole church with prayers, praises, songs of worship and thanksgiving!

And the female lay reader preached a mighty powerful sermon this morning on the meaning of Lent; a time for introspection, for growing, for giving up things of the world, so that we can get closer to God. And as usual, I saw people from my youth, people I have not seen in many a day. I guess there’s no place I can go in Tobago without meeting someone who knows me, my, mother, my father or my grandfather.

Unfortunately it will be my last visit on this trip. Next Sunday I’ll be back in my cold St. Francis church back in the North Country, but it’s only the surroundings that are cold, the people are warm and lovely and friendly! Hi there my people back at St. Francis! I missed you all, but not the cold weather. (smile)

And since Lent is a time for us to grow in the nature and image of Christ, this morning when I read this most appropriate passage from The One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin, I obviously couldn’t pass it up. It’s titled ‘Grow Up.

And it says: ‘Picture with me: a piece of gnarled bark tossed to and fro over the crashing breakers. First one direction, then another, back and forth, over and under. Aimless. No set purpose. Drifting… always drifting. What an accurate picture of an immature Christian. Nothing but spiritual puttering. Up and down, in and out. One study group for a few weeks, then another. One church for a while, then another.

Undisciplined, unsteady, one day soaring, the next day wading in self-pity. No consistency. The apostle Paul tells us to grow up! Not grow older, but grow up into Christ. What we are today is more important to God than what we were yesterday. Our life journey with Jesus is now – this very day, this very hour. Why yearn for change if we’ve made no effort to follow the direction God has already given us?

To grow spiritually we must be single-minded. Our one goal? To be conformed to the image of Christ. He longs for our willingness to let Him root us, cultivate us, water us. Above all, God wants our total commitment. He will take anything we give Him, except second place.’

Oh my people, those are such moving words of truth that I don’t see how we can ignore them if we truly want to be a mature Christian. Like everything else in this world, it takes, diligence, patience, perseverance, endurance, faith, prayer and the sweat of our brow to grow, to come up higher in Christ too. That means we can’t be wishy-washy and wavering, sitting on the fence, jumping down to one side or the other as the fancy takes us, or where the grass seems greenest.

And the promise for that passage is our inimitable Bit, memorable words from Bruh Paul to the Corinthians. And we’ll start with the first verse of the chapter. ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable (rational) service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’ (Rom.12:1-2)

Oh Friends, that is the perfect recipe for the wandering, wavering, wishy-washy Christian! In fact for any Christian at all, because that’s how we become true children of God, reflecting the true image and character of Jesus Christ, which is God’s eternal plan. And the scholars have some very good explanations on those verses, so let’s check them out.

’12:1. By the mercies of God summarizes all that God has accomplished for the believer in Romans 1-11 in justifying the believer (chs. 1-5), enabling the believer to live a righteous life (chs 6-8), and being faithful to Israel (chs 9-11). That ye present refers to a definite act of presentation. The verb is used of offering a sacrifice that became “holy” under the Levitical system (cf. Ex.29:37).

This shows that the Christian life begins with total commitment and irrevocable presentation. Your bodies: The body has been an instrument of sin (ch 6). Now it is to be presented to God as a channel through which the righteousness of God is manifested.’

12:2. Be not conformed (lit. “stop conforming yourselves”). They are to resist being poured into the mould of the present thinking, value systems, and conduct of this world. This term is used only here and in 1 Peter 1:14.’

Oh my brethren, that last sentence says it all! We supposed Christians, followers of Christ are being too influenced by the mores, vales and conduct of this evil and ungodly world. So how can we expect to be true Christians when we’re not following the will and work of Jesus Christ eh?

That’s why so many unbelievers look down on us with scorn and serious misgiving, comparing us to the hypocrite Pharisees of Jesus’ time and thus refuse to attend church or commit their lives to Jesus. And they’re quite right too! How can we expect people to join something that’s so conflicted, divisive and two-faced?

In other words Friends, we’re not helping God’s cause with that kind of behavior, but driving it into the ground. And there’s no better time than this Lenten Season to check ourselves and see where we may be coming up short for Jesus, and seriously communicate with Him to help us change, grow, mature, and thus do better in furthering His glorious kingdom.

So let’s concentrate on that today nuh my people, for all of us can use God’s help to improve our earthly witness. Much LOVE!

…the best testimony for Jesus…is through our true and righteous lives…anything less is not good enough…